The Lancet, Volume 382, Issue 9906, Pages 1691 - 1692, 23 November 2013
Homes, health infrastructure, and other essential services have been decimated in areas hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan, leaving millions of survivors vulnerable to illness. Yu-Tzu Chiu reports.
The death of 3-day-old infant Althea Mustacia on Nov 16 might have been avoided had ventilators been working at a public medical centre in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines's Leyte province.
Establishing sustained respiration for the infant who had asphyxia after birth was tragically hampered, however, after power lines went down across the entire region in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit central Philippines on Nov 8.
Filipino health officials say that most hospitals and health facilities in the typhoon-hit areas are seriously damaged. In Tacloban (figure), in the worst-hit province of Leyte, only one public hospital remains functional following Haiyan (one of the strongest storms ever recorded), according to Gloria Balboa, a regional director at the Philippines Department of Health (DOH). “Now we have to rely on private facilities and some additional hospitals set up by international groups”, she tells The Lancet.